Alison Collington is project manager for Fiver and Tenner at Young Enterprise. The Fiver Challenge is Young Enterprise’s free nationwide challenge for 5-11-year olds, which provides a highly interactive, fun way of introducing financial numeracy, resilience and teamwork in learning for primary school pupils. Pupils have one month to set up a mini business and create a product or service they can then sell or deliver at a profit plus an opportunity to engage with their local community.
“…offer your local school your support to work with some of their pupils by assisting with their ideas and development in setting up a mini business over the four weeks. I guarantee you will enjoy it too!..”
Working on a cause I’m passionate about
I have been working in this role for just over 12 months. I’ve had a very varied career starting in the travel industry and then moving into a role in senior management for a large American corporate company in London to setting up a small clothing business and finally volunteering for a couple of national charities and taking an active part in fundraising.
I really enjoy working for a charity – you need passion, commitment and dedication and the results can be amazing. You feel you can to make a real difference by helping a cause you are passionate about. I had heard about Young Enterprise and really connected with their aims in empowering young people to harness their personal and business skills whilst still at school.
With so much current focus on exam grades, employability skills and a focus on the world of work often disappears from the school curriculum. Academic achievement is definitely not all that is required to be successful in life and work!
My role on a day to day basis
I am involved with all aspects of the Tenner and Fiver Challenges from liaising with schools who want to find out more and advising them how to run the challenges within their schools to reviewing and updating the resources and the online information we provide for teachers and students.
I am always looking for opportunities to link up with active young entrepreneurs and creatives, and I work closely with our marketing and PR team to continuously promote the challenges at every opportunity to schools, colleges and businesses across the UK.
During the months the challenges are actually taking place (from mid-February to mid-March for Tenner, for 11-19 year olds) and for Fiver (throughout June, for 5-11 year olds), I am overseeing the delivery of the weekly and national competitions and helping to keep everyone on track. We can have up to 1000 entries per week!
How Fiver works
The first word I always hear to describe Fiver is ‘fun’ from everyone involved with this project. It is designed for primary school pupils aged from 5-11 years and lasting for only four weeks it gives pupils a wonderful introduction into enterprise learning adding a ‘real life’ context to the school curriculum in an exciting way!
Schools will register via the website www.fiverchallenge.org.uk and we will then pledge their pupils £5 to use as their start-up capital. This is their chance to use real money to set up a mini business and they get to keep the profits and decide how to spend them too! On average teams make £124 in profit and we do ask for the £5 pledge to be repaid with a suggested 50p legacy donation so we can continue to build the fund every year. This is a great way to teach pupils how to manage their money, linking the challenge with finance and budgeting.
Ensuring equality of opportunity for girls and boys
The Fiver Challenge is open to everyone to actively take part by offering all pupils a chance to work outside their normal parameters. It is a great way to instil resilience from a young age and provide a positive and motivational experience for pupils of all abilities to develop their character and soft skills too. It is a safe way to understand the beginnings of how to be involved in the creative processes behind every business by going out and doing it yourself.
Impact on skills and confidence of the children who participate
We always ask for feedback from teachers and in our most recent report summarising the impact of Fiver on pupils’ key skill development as well as outlining the contribution to pupils’ classroom learning:
- 95% of teachers believe that all young people in the teams they supported developed at least one of the key skills tested, with money management, teamwork and communication reported as being the most developed.
- Teachers also believe Fiver increases personal capabilities – 96% agree that Fiver increases awareness in the world of work and 83% agree that it increases community engagement awareness.
- Many teachers also noted their pupils developed in maturity as part of the process and the responsibility given to them during the project.
Boundless creativity and entrepreneurship
With almost 34 000 children taking part in Fiver this year there have been so many amazing ideas and products. I’m always impressed by the level of creativity and entrepreneurship demonstrated by our budding entrepreneurs. This year we have seen handmade wooden fidget spinners, emoji pom poms, postcards / cards of one team’s local village to lemonade stands, healthy tuck shops and carwashes, to name but a few!
How Womanthology readers can get involved
Womanthology readers can help by spreading the word! Take a look at the Fiver website – www.fiverchallenge.org.uk and recommend it to your local schools or encourage your head of school or chair of governors to get involved. It is free to sign up to and we would love to see it grow even more!
Another way to support is to offer your local school your support to work with some of their pupils by assisting with their ideas and development in setting up a mini business over the four weeks. I guarantee you will enjoy it too! Do let us know if you would like to be involved firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love to hear from you!
On the horizon for me and Fiver
Right now, I am organising the National Fiver Awards for 2017 which take place in London on 25th September. This is always an amazing day meeting the national winners of the final competition from all over the country and celebrating their hard work and success! We have a fantastic day out planned plus an awards ceremony. Then I will be back to planning Tenner and Fiver for 2018.